The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
Return and Conversion of the Jews
Return and Conversion of the Jews.
In order to follow us in this connection, we will ask the reader to turn to Ezekiel xxxvii., and read carefully to the 14th verse the vision of the valley of the dry bones. That valley of dry bones represents the Jews in their present state. They are so dry, so very dry, with regard to spiritual blessings that their recovery and conversion would seem to be almost hopeless. These "dry bones are scattered amongst, all nations, and as it were buried in their graves, never to appear again as a nation. But they are recognised everywhere as a distinct people; their features and appearance proclaim themselves to every one; and the words of our Lord, "this generation shall not pass away" (Luke xxi. 32), are yet applicable to them as being of one body, though in their present state a very dry one. But their graves shall be opened (verse 12), and they shell be brought together again. "So I prophesied as I was commanded : and as I prophesied there was a noise, an behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I page 31 beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them" (verses 7, 8).
Upon that crafty King confirming his covenant with the Jews (Daniel, ix. 27), there will no doubt be a great noise among these dry bones throughout the whole world, for now at last has their Messiah come, who will restore to them their former glory and make them the most glorious nation in the world; now all the prophecies (carnally interpreted by them) will be fulfilled; and with the greatest enthusiasm will these "dry bones" look forward to their future greatness. "And behold a shaking." Oh ! what a shaking will there be among them. Every one who can possibly manage his affairs in that direction will hasten to the land of promise, that glorious land flowing with milk and honey. The rich Jews especially will have the first chance of becoming large landowners. But there will be no life and "no breath in them." That is, no spiritual life and breath—not a spark, all will be dead, dry, and useless. But now we read : "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon the slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army (Ezek. xxxvii. 9, 10).*
We cannot for a moment suppose that God would convert and redeem Israel by pouring out his spirit upon them suddenly, without previously preparing them for that great change. When God brought Israel out of Egypt they soon proved themselves unfit to enter the land promised them, and so had to be prepared for it and broken in to obedience by a long wandering up and down in the wilderness. When a woman is about to give birth to a child, she travails in pain.
When that false King sets up his image in the Temple at Jerusalem, the Jews, who have from time to time heard of his doings in other countries, and of his putting to the sword all those who will not bow to the image, will be filled with great consternation and great sorrow in their hearts, for they will then see clearly that they have been altogether deceived in regarding this King as their Messiah. But what is to be done? This will be the question anxiously asked one of another; to bow to the image, and thus again to commence the worship of idols which they have for many centuries forsaken as an abomination—this they will not be able to make up their minds to do—no, never. But the danger draws nearer; they hear tidings of an army to be raised and marched against them to enforce the horrible worship. Further tidings come of the vastness of the army; of its near approach; till ultimately the mighty host makes its actual appearance, and when their fears are raised to the highest pitch, and the pains for deliverance have become extreme, then suddenly the Lord appears with his heavenly host, and their deliverance is gloriously accomplished. They will now be prepared to bow to the Saviour who has so signally appeared for them, and will joyfully hail and accept him as their Messiah, saying : "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of page 32 the Lord!" (Matthew xxiii. 39.) Then will the Lord sprinkle clean water upon them, and they shall be clean from all their filthiness. He will give them "a new heart," and put "a new spirit within them, and will take away the stony (earthly) heart," out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh" (of feeling). The Lord will put his spirit within them, and cause them to walk in his statutes and do them. (Ezekiel xxxvi. 25-27.) For now they are prepared for such blessings. And then will be fulfilled that to which St. Paul refers in Romans xi. 26, 27, and many other passages.
The Jews being thus cleansed from their filthiness (from being earthly-minded) their selfishness will disappear, and they will lay all their property at their Commander and Redeemer's feet; and he will establish them in Palestine, as described in Ezekiel xxxvii. 15, to the end of the book. The Lord will then bring back his people, the Christian "remnant," out of the wilderness, and incorporate them with the Jewish nation, and the Millennium will commence.
That vile King whom the whole world worshipped (Rev. xiii. 1) having, with his mighty army, been destroyed, and with his prophet cast bodily into prison (hell) as prisoners of war; what will God now do with the King's subjects? As the lands have become parched and fruitless for want of rain during the past three and a half years, so that almost every blade of grass and all the foliage on the trees has disappeared (Rev. xi. 6), will God now give rain again to revive the land and make the fields productive? There is no Elijah or any other prophet left to intercede for them; for the last two prophets the Lord sent, and who faithfully warned them not to bring destruction upon themselves, they triumphantly killed and destroyed (verses 7-10). There are not 7,000 left amongst them who had not bowed down to that blasphemous image, who could lift up their voices for a ruined race for blessings from heaven, as there were of Israel in Elijah's time who had not bowed to Baal no, not a solitary one. For when God visited them with plagues to bring them to repentance, instead of repenting they blasphemed the name of God, "and they repented not to give him glory" (Rev. xvi. 9). And what they believe and do, they also taught their children. The Bible, God's Standard amongst men, they have trampled under their feet, and entirely abolished; the schools for religious teaching and instruction are condemned and swept away from amongst them; and the churches are converted into temples for the worship of the King's image and places of pleasure; there is therefore no prospect even for the rising generation, and all the world has become corrupt—" flesh,' as it was in Noah's time, when God destroyed the earth by the flood, and washed them thus from the face of the earth. The whole scene of the once civilized and christianized world has been converted into a Sodom and Egypt (Rev. xi. 8), for our Lord is crucified amongst them. Again we feel constrained to ask, What can or will God do with them? The angels of heaven give the signal for destruction; they shout mightily one to another, saying: "Thrust in thy sickle and reap : for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. . . . Thrust in the sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. . . . And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. (Rev. xiv. 15, 18, 19.) Because they all, every one of them, bear the mark for hell and condemnation on their forehead or in their right hand (Rev. xiii. 16; xiv. 9). Thus the world, entirely destitute of any good, is purified, and "that determined is poured upon them (Daniel ix. 27). We shall now turn our attention to Revelations xvii.